Take out a mental sheet of paper, and a mental pen or pencil (to whichever you prefer). Jot down some things that you like to do in your free time. That free of class and work. Then start a new list under it. Title it, Really Now, What Do I Honestly Like To Do In My Free Time. In other words, free from what you feel others may think, friends, family, GOD. Make the mental note. Now cross off the things that you know people, universally, would accept. What do you have left?
I'm guilty of it as well. Hiding things from plain sight, so that no one will see our struggles. We call these things our vices. Now that we have identified them, which I'm sure we all have before, what do we do with them. In the past, I have made this mental list, AND checked it twice (a little Santa-esq). Then decided, subconsciously, that it wasn't important enough for me to give it up. So, what drives us to give up our vices and turn ourselves over? When we evaluate this, it becomes evident that we aren't doing ourselves much good at all, in an attempt to rid the vices from our lives. (Hence why we keep falling back to them) But when we open up to someone about our vices, generally, the person is very understanding, and takes time to help us out. We may be able to rid some of our vices, but some still remain, and there is a great chance that the vices that have been sent packing, may just come back for another visit.
What am I getting at here?
I am attempting to figure out solving my own issues with Mr. & Mrs. Vice, along with their kids, Joe Vice, Jane Vice, and Mike Vice Jr. The worst of it all, is that once the kids move out, they always seem to come back to pay a visit, or try to stay for elongated periods of time. When I am in re-evaluation mode, these vices seem easy to conquer, and I generally tend to put them out of heart and mind for a while. Some stay away permanently, and some tend to wander around, only to come back to me. Yes, I have gone to friends and family for these issues. Usually a vent session, or a deep discussion. But am I REALLY listening!? I pay attention, hear the words, comprehend it, but something doesn't stick. See, a seed can be planted, but it will never grow into a plant unless it is given necessary attention. Okay, so we need to pay more attention.
How are we supposed to pay attention? What are the methods of this, "pay attention"?
There are a few ways I have learned this (and still learning it), but I have found that the overwhelming push to reach for God, is the ultimate way of paying attention. In other words, pay attention to God. And yes, do this before you go run and give advice on how to conquer a vice which you haven't gotten past. And most of all, do NOT deem yourself vice-less...ever! These things are hypocritical. We are told, "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." -Matthew 7:5.
A vice is defined as an immoral or evil habit or practice. In other words, a vice could also be defined as a sin, correct?
We already know that sin is not something that we should be doing, by any means. "We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind." -Isaiah 64:6. Man, that sounds harsh!! Praise be to God that He sent His son, Jesus Christ to cleanse us of our sins, "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." -Romans 10:9.
So if it is so wicked and evil, God obviously sent his son for us, so we are free from all of our vices anyway, right?
The thing is, you have to "believe it in your heart". And upon doing that, it becomes easier. Have I conquered all of my vices? Again, no I have not. But am I saying here, right now, that I am going to declare myself rid of the vice that clouds my mind daily, and tempt me more than anything, on an hourly basis? Yes, a resounding yes!
How am I so confident?
Because I have remembered someone that is very close to me. With the wise words that have been spoken in the past, have been translated into the present. I have to stop now. I have battled with the vice for years, and it is time to hang up the bad habit, for good. I have finally listened, and understood. Words I have heard were spoken to help me. How or why did I encounter such a helpful person? One who can't even relate to me, in this aspect. One who does not share this vice with me. But that is just it. It is a simple equation. God has given me the opportunity, and all I have to do is believe. "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." -Philippians 4:13.